Farmers living in the area of west Wales earmarked for badger culling say they are living in fear of becoming targets for animal rights activists.

Tension is mounting in the culling zone of north Pembrokeshire after activists were arrested last week for obstructing Welsh government officials involved in sett survey work.

One farmer in the cull zone, whose herd is under bovine TB restriction, would only give his views if his identity was not revealed. He said farmers were fearful of reprisals.

“Those who are objecting to this cull seem to be people whose lives have been unaffected by bovine TB. Unlike farmers, they haven’t had to suffer the devastating consequences of having their animals slaughtered,” he said. “A cow’s life is just as important as that of a wild animal but in the minds of the antis it doesn’t seem to count.”

People in the area are anxious and concerned that the cull will prove divisive.

John Davies, farmer and leader of Pembrokeshire County Council said: “What is of great concern are the tensions that seem to be brewing in the land among communities and between neighbours where there is a difference of opinion,” he said. “A lot of people are too afraid to speak to each other on this matter.”

Although no date has been given for when the trapping and shooting of badgers will start in the cull zone, it is believed to be imminent.